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Merry Christmas

Peter Cannon - Fri, 19/12/2014 - 09:57

When it comes to Christmas I turn into a monumental hypocrite. I have no religious beliefs, hell I refuse to even believe in ghosts simply because how can you believe in some form of afterlife and then say “I don’t believe in God!” So I like Christmas.

I like carols, I shouldn’t really but I do. I fall for that snowing image of people holding lanterns and singing ♫ ♪ “Silent night, holy night….” ♪ ♫ from my TV screen. To me these songs are just singing and as Nicolas Cage said in Captain Corelli’s mandolin “There is singing at births, there is singing at funerals, there is singing at weddings, there is singing as men march into war, there is singing at most occasions worthwhile. I have always found something in life worth singing about.” so I reconcile myself with the excuse that it’s just singing. So I like Christmas.

I like presents, who doesn’t? OK it’s all commercialised now, your offspring are not going to be happy with an Airfix model or dolls house “We’re do I plug my Dr Beats in then?” but it does make people happy for a couple of hours and for me it’s a kind of ending for the year, a sort of “We made through that one, here have a prezzie to celebrate.” So I like Christmas.

I certainly don’t see it as Jesus’s birthday or some kind of religious event. I used to, I even used to go to midnight mass but then one day I woke up and gave up all that “There must be something more than this?” insecurity but I see no harm in celebrating Christmas there’s also no harm in giving yourself a day off and joining in something you don’t believe in which ultimately means: So you like Christmas then?

For Kara Square

The Impact of One Person

Jono Bacon - Wed, 17/12/2014 - 07:35

I am 35 years old and people never cease to surprise me. My trip home from Los Angeles today was a good example of this.

It was a tortuous affair that should have been a quick hop from LA to Oakland, popping on BArt, and then getting home for a cup of tea and an episode of The Daily Show.

It didn’t work out like that.

My flight was delayed. Then we sat on the tarmac for an hour. Then the new AirBart train was delayed. Then I was delayed at the BArt station in Oakland for 30 minutes because someone was spotted with a gun so they shut it down. Throughout this I was tired, it was raining, and my patience was wearing thin.

Through the duration of this chain of minor annoyances, I was reading about the horrifying school attack in Pakistan. As I read more, related articles were linked with other stories of violence, aggression, and rape, perpetuated by the dregs of our species.

As anyone who knows me will likely testify, I am a generally pretty positive guy who sees the good in people. I have baked my entire philosophy in life and focus in my career upon the core belief that people are good and the solutions to our problems and the doors to opportunity are created by good people.

On some days though, even the strongest sense of belief in people can be tested when reading about events such as this dreadful act of violence in Pakistan. My seemingly normal trip home from the office in LA just left me disappointed in people.

While stood at the BArt station I decided I had had enough and called an Uber. I just wanted to get home and see my family. This is when my mood changed entirely.

Gerald

A few minutes later, my Uber arrived, and I was picked up by an older gentleman called Gerald. He put my suitcase in the trunk of his car and off we went.

We started talking about the Pakistan shooting. We both shared a desperate sense of disbelief at all those innocent children slaughtered. We questioned how anyone with any sense of humanity and emotion could even think about doing that, let alone going through with it. With a somber air filling the car, Gerald switched gears and started talking about his family.

He told me about his two kids, both of which are in their mid-thirtees. He doted on their accomplishments in their careers, their sense of balance and integrity as people, and his three beautiful grand-children.

He proudly shared that he had shipped his grandkids’ Christmas presents off to them today (they are on the East Coast) so he didn’t miss the big day. He was excited about the joy he hoped the gifts would bring to them. His tone and sentiment was one of happiness and pride.

We exchanged stories about our families, our plans for Christmas, and how lucky we both felt to love and be loved.

While we were generations apart…our age, our experiences, and our differences didn’t matter. We were just proud husbands and fathers who were cherishing the moments in life that were so important to both of us.

We arrived at my home and I told Gerald that until I stepped in his car I was having a pretty shitty trip home and he completely changed that. We shook hands, shared Christmas wishes, and parted ways.

Good People

What I was expecting to be a typical Uber ride home with me exchanging a few pleasantries and then doing email on my phone, instead really illuminated what is important in life.

We live in complex world. We live on a planet with a rich tapestry of people and perspectives.

Evil people do exist. I am not referring to a specific religious or spiritual definition of evil, but instead the extreme inverse or the good we see in others.

There are people who can hurt others, who can so violently shatter innocence and bring pain to hundreds, so brutally, and so unnecessarily. I can’t even imagine what the parents of those kids are going through right now.

It can be easy to focus on these tragedies and to think that our world is getting worse; to look at the full gamut of negative humanity, from the inconsequential miserable lady I saw yelling at the staff at the airport, to the hateful violence directed at innocent children, and assume that our species is rotting from the inside out. It can be easy to see poison in the well, that this rot in our species is spreading.

While it is easy to lose faith in people, I believe our wider humanity keeps us on the right path.

While there is evil in the world, there is so much good. For every evil person screaming there is a choir of good people who drown them out. These good people create good things, they create beautiful things that help others to also create good things and be good people.

Like many of you, I am fortunate to see many of these things every day. I see people helping the elderly in their local communities, people donating toys to orphaned kids over the holidays, others creating technology and educational resources that help people to create new content, art, music, businesses, and more. I see people devoting hours to helping and inspiring other people to extend and enrich us as people and create a brighter future.

What is most important about all of this is that every individual, every person, every one of you reading this, has the opportunity to impact others and make a difference. These opportunities may be small and localized, or they may be large and international, but we all can leave this planet a little better than when we arrived on it.

The simplest way of doing this is to share our humanity with others and to cherish the good in the face of evil. The louder our choir, the brighter our world can be. It makes us stronger as a people.

Gerald did exactly that tonight. He shared happiness and opportunity with a random guy he picked up in his car and I felt I should pass that spirit on too to you folks. Now it is your turn.

Thanks for reading.

BTRFS gotchas… (balance / scrub / snapshots / quota)

David Goodwin - Tue, 16/12/2014 - 13:50

I’ve been using BTRFS for a few weeks now, and some bits are great (filesystem snapshots, dynamic resizing etc).

The “Good” and “Bad” things follow:

The bad things

Don’t use quota support and subvolumes. Once you start removing subvolumes, you’ll see kernel panics — at least up until (and including)l the 3.16 kernel (Debian Jessie).

e.g.

WARNING: CPU: 2 PID: 19925 at /build/linux-LrLd2z/linux-3.16.5/fs/btrfs/qgroup.c:1347 btrfs_delayed_qgroup_accounting+0x46a/0xab0 [btrfs]() .... Workqueue: btrfs-extent-refs btrfs_extent_refs_helper [btrfs] ....

You need a regular (weekly?) cron job to re-balance the filesystem. Else you’ll find yourself in the weird position of not being able to create files, yet ‘df’ shows there’s space left on the device.

Doing a “btrfs filesystem show /mount/point” will show it as having no space left —

For instance :
‘df’ output:

/dev/xvdf 41943040 26548956 14203460 66% /var/lib/lxc

while ‘btrfs’ itself says :

root@xxxxx:# btrfs filesystem show /var Label: 'VAR' uuid: 754f8e45-31b4-428f-a21f-2ad9b93b46f6 Total devices 1 FS bytes used 18.20GiB devid 1 size 40.00GiB used 40.00GiB path /dev/xvdf Btrfs v3.17

 

To  fix this, you need ‘some’ free space for the balance to run …. so either nuke a few log files (if you’re lucky) or hope remounting the filesystem with ‘clear_cache’ is sufficient —

mount -o remount,clear_cache /var/

and then a :

btrfs balance start /var

I have a weekly cron like the following which is hopefully sufficient to control BTRFS —

for filesystem in $(mount -t btrfs | awk '{print $3}' ) do btrfs balance start $filesystem done for filesystem in $(mount -t btrfs | awk '{print $3}' ) do btrfs scrub start $filesystem done The good things
  1. Read-only snapshots — great for backup jobs
  2. Expandable / Resizeable … just add another disk / partition in…
  3. No need to mess around with LVM / RAID

Automated twitter compilation up to 14 December 2014

David Goodwin - Sun, 14/12/2014 - 06:00

Arbitrary tweets made by TheGingerDog up to 14 December 2014

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